Apr 9 2014
In the spirit of Passover, Kveller asked our readers and writers: What do you need to break free from this year? Here’s Mayim’s response as part of our “What’s Your Exodus?” series. Want to join in? Tweet @kveller with the #WhatsYourExodus hashtag.
My Exodus this year is thinking about my needs first, rather than dampening them to make other people more comfortable. What a novel idea, right!?
I grew up thinking that being accommodating and maybe a little teeny tiny bit of a martyr was positive, and now I see that I have gotten lost in the forest of other people’s needs. I want to actively and bravely take back my voice this year and I want to pass through the narrows of Mitzrayim with more clarity and self-respect than I ever thought possible. I hope to achieve this by putting my needs first rather than making my needs smaller to make other people happy.
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Apr 8 2014
So you all know I’m a hippie, right? I made my kids’ shampoo for the first five years of their life, I don’t use paper towels or commercial cleaning products, I use naturopathic and holistic medicine rather than Western medicine, I don’t own any toys that require batteries, I believe in natural birth as an empowering and profound experience for women, and I don’t shave my legs. You get it: I’m a total hippie.
Well, as you can imagine, conventional parenting magazines never sat right with me because they simply didn’t address the things I needed to know as a parent interested in cloth diapering, sustainable parenting, and how to stop well meaning family from buying your kids every battery-operated toy in existence for every birthday and holiday. There used to be a print magazine called Mothering that was THE parenting magazine for moms (and dads) like me. It is now available only online for environmental reasons at Mothering.com and it is a tremendous resource for those interested in what’s referred to as Natural Family Living. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 2 2014
Remember when I took my kids to Disneyland with my ex? And remember how I am kind of a Scrooge and didn’t really enjoy it that much? Well, I took my kids to Knott’s Berry Farm and Amusement Park (home of “Camp Snoopy,” the littler kids section of the amusement park) last weekend without the ex.
Here’s why it was better. And no, it wasn’t better because the ex wasn’t there. I actually really could have used an extra set of hands since Little Man wanted to be held practically the entire time. And no, Knott’s isn’t paying me to say this. I bought my tickets off of some website where things are less expensive than at the ticket counter like all of you.
1. Knott’s is smaller. Square footage, diameter, circumference; you name it and Knott’s has a smaller number before any of those measurements. And that made it more manageable for sure. I could hold the images of the layout of the park in my head all at once, I didn’t get lost, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the size. It was smaller and sometimes smaller is better. Like now. Talking about Knott’s. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 1 2014
I haven’t been shy about my love for The Maccabeats, the a cappella group from Yeshiva University. But today I’ve got a major announcement: when it comes to one of these handsome singing men, I don’t just love his music. I love him. And we’re engaged!
For privacy reasons, I won’t be revealing his identity quite yet, but know that we are very happy together and plan to have a seder-themed wedding next Passover.
*Gotcha, didn’t I? Happy April Fool’s.
Mar 27 2014
Anyone else starting Passover prep?
Here’s what I did last weekend in order to start the thorough, divinely ordained, obsessive-compulsive, halachically elucidated purging of the five grains the Torah forbids us from consuming, eating, or gaining benefit from during the eight days of Passover, which begin this year on April 14, at sundown.
1. Croutons. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 25 2014
My dad was a junior high school drama teacher for most of my childhood. In all of the schools he taught in, he would approach the special education teachers and ask them if any of their students wanted to be in his drama class. Most teachers didn’t have students interested, but every year, a few students would say yes. So I grew up seeing my father put on plays with students with special needs, and work them seamlessly into his plays, such as deaf students signing their lines right alongside not hard-of-hearing students.
He once had a student with cerebral palsy who had significant difficulty with speech and walking as an active participant in one of his plays, reciting his lines from a wheelchair with great difficulty, but with tremendous heart. Everyone cried at that performance.
It was the gestures of my father’s tremendous heart that made me understand from a very young age that there is no such thing as too small of an act of empowering people with special needs. My father’s efforts impressed entire classrooms of students who got to have the opportunity to work with other students with special needs and learn about patience and flexibility and talent and trust as an artist. And everyone who saw my father’s plays saw what that meant in action. And the parents of the students he taught with special needs got to see their child have an experience rarely open to them. Those moments of my childhood have stuck with me. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 20 2014
The ex and I took our sons to their very first movie theater movie. That’s right, our 8 and 5.5-year-old sons have never been to a movie theater. And their dad shows them some cartoons and they have seen a few short animated films as well as “The Muppet Movie,” but not in a theater. I know: we are horrible parents. We have deprived them for years. They have missed out on so many irretrievably incredible experiences in movie theaters. Whatever. We finally took them to the movies. Yay. (And just think of all the money we saved not taking them to the movies all of these years! Yay!)
Firstborn loved it. Little Man was trepidatious but did great which is astounding considering that the Harlem Globetrotters game near broke his and my spirit with its loudness and overstimulation on so many levels.
Here’s why “The Lego Movie” was awesome for me as well as my boys. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 18 2014
As I wrote about last week, Purim was this past weekend. Yeah, I was feeling pretty grumpy about being a divorced mom who also happens to be a working mom, and I was pretty bummed out that I missed my sons’ homeschool Purim carnival and baking hamantaschen because of my hand and other such Purim festivities.
Now that the weekend has passed, you know what? I’m still pretty grumpy. But I am also feeling a bit better about the whole thing, I promise. Seeing my sons for Purim was great. The wedding we went to went great, despite First Born getting ketchup all over his shirt and tie before the wedding. Here’s me cleaning it off. Why am I laughing about it when I could have been annoyed and upset? A) Because it’s no big deal. B) The Mai Thai I’d had helped. (Sorry! It’s just true!)
The work I did in New York with De Vry University went really well. I was working with them for the second year in a row on National HerWorld Month activities and initiatives to encourage high school girls to learn about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. The programs specifically focus on giving girls hands-on experience and allowing them to meet women with successful STEM careers in order to foster mentorship relationships, such as the one I had when I was 15, which ultimately led to my pursuing my PhD in Neuroscience. It was a wonderful couple of days with De Vry University and if you are curious about what I did or for more information, feel free to visit the website. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 13 2014
Last year, I was recently divorced when Purim fell. Purim, for those of you not in the know, is a spring holiday commemorating the near destruction and redemption of the Jewish community in Iran some 2000 years ago. For the record, it’s the Book of Esther, God’s name is curiously never mentioned in the entire Megillah that recounts it, and the hero of the story is actually a heroine named Esther. She’s awesome. Anyway.
Last year, amidst the still-clearing rubble of the mess and chaos that is divorce (even one that is managed extremely maturely and lovingly as my ex and I strive to do), my kids assumed that we would do a family costume like we always did. At that time they were 4 and 7. So we did a family costume in the middle of a divorce. We went as the cast of Tintin, with both of my boys as Tintin, my ex as the drunk Captain and me as Snowy the Dog, of course. Here’s me as Snowy in case you missed it last year. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 10 2014
Adar is the month of the Jewish calendar we are in, and it is the month when Purim falls. Purim is the holiday of merry-making, things being turned upside-down, things not being what they seem, desires revealed, identities shifting, and the reminder that a month from now, kitchens will be turned upside down as we prepare for Passover, with all of its delightful obsessive-compulsive cleaning and fastidiousness.
This month for me has definitely been Adar-ish. Lots of shifting of identities, and feeling upside down and trying to right myself. Caring for my sons amidst a book tour that has taken me away from them more than I like has been hard for us all, and we are trying to recalibrate.
Since I have always claimed I am a normal mom, I wanted to share some pictures of a normal mom weekend with my boys. Here’s how it shook down. Read the rest of this entry →